In a recent interview with Energuia, Lurian Klein, shared insights into the evolving landscape of renewable energy communities (RECs) in Portugal. This initiative aligns with the European Parliament’s 2018 directive, which encouraged local energy production and consumption.
Portugal’s legislation in 2019 partially transposed this directive, enabling RECs to not only produce and consume renewable energy but also to store and sell it. This legal framework fosters a model where energy can be shared within communities without impacting consumer rights.
Before the law’s enactment, Cleanwatts proactively engaged in testing the REC model in three Portuguese communities: Alfândega da Fé, Vila Real, and Penela. This was part of the Netefficity project, involving the Porto Higher Engineering Institute and Energia Simples, funded under Portugal 2020. The project, spanning from 2016 to 2018, aimed to test peer to peer energy-sharing (between public buildings residential dwellings) to optimize community-level consumption. It revealed potential savings of 22-56.4% on energy costs by enabling local production and consumption.
The pilot communities centered around public buildings equipped with photovoltaic panels, transforming them into prosumers – entities that both produce and consume energy. The tests demonstrated how surplus energy could be equitably distributed among community members, highlighting the necessity for grid electricity at night, as the project lacked energy storage solutions.
Each household was also fitted with Cleanwatts Kiome an Energy Management System, allowing real-time optimization of electricity consumption based on pricing and remote control of appliances.
Building on these foundations, Cleanwatts initiated the Flexigy project to further explore REC models, focusing on operational aspects like energy trading and market flexibility. The future of RECs is envisioned to include diverse renewable energy sources and storage solutions, increasing autonomy.
Klein’s insights underscore the significant role of RECs in transforming energy consumption models, emphasizing community engagement, technological innovation, and legal frameworks in driving this change.
For a more in-depth understanding, check out the original edition on Construção’s website here. (in Portuguese)